The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia has postponed the start of the General Registration of Voters citing logistical challenges.
Voter registration ahead of the December 4, 2021 presidential election was slated to begin on 14 January 2021. However, in a press statement on Thursday, the IEC announced a change in date challenges around the “procurement of materials and equipment needed for the successful conduct of the voter registration.”
The statement said the IEC is hindered by the lack of clearance from GPPA which is required before the release of funds by the Ministry of Finance.
The commission, however, assured citizens that the delay will not affect the electoral calendar, insisting that the December polls will still go ahead as planned.
“The IEC would like to re-assure Gambian’s that the delay in conducting the vote registration exercise would not affect the electoral calendar as there is still room to conduct the exercise on time,” the IEC said.
“In 2011, general registration of voters commenced in May and the presidential election was held in November; meaning the IEC is on course to conduct a general registration of voters prior to the presidential election on the 4th December 2021.”
Reacting to the news, President Adama Barrow – who defeated longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh in 2017 at the polls – has advised the IEC against delaying the presidential election.
Civil society groups are demanding an emergency meeting about the postponement, the website reports.
In December 2019 the banned “Operation Three Years Jotna” movement staged protests in the capital Banjul to pressure President Barrow to honour his 2016 promise to stand down after a three-year transitional period.